By Paul Taremwa
I promise not to make this a history lecture but would like to use a little history of this pearl of Africa to help us understand where we are and where we are going.
Uganda gained her independence from the colonialists formally in October 1962 but remained part of the common wealth I think till now.
It was one year later that Uganda was declared a Republic in October 1963.
However, it was the 1967 constitution that galvanized Uganda as a Republic and gave the president more powers.
Before this, there were elected Prime Ministers which sort of created competing power centers (President and PM) that finally led to the 1966 crisis.
The 1995 constitution-crafted by the NRA/NRM maintained this status of Uganda as a presidential republic.
The above brief history is to answer the question whether Uganda is a monarchy or not.
Clearly, as per constitution, even when Uganda had a Monarch for a president in 1962-66, it remained a republic.
As a republic, Uganda is governed according to the common laws called the constitution.
And truth must be said, Uganda’s 1995 constitution is among the best in the world.
It touches on everything that is critical for Uganda in areas key among which is who can be elected for office and the conditions for that.
All democracies if they are to be true to the tenets of democracy, they must work and operate according to the constitution.
The constitution of Uganda provides clearly the requirements one needs to become president and we will do well not to shift goal posts!
I have come across several arguments from different quotas especially from some prejudiced opposition politicians who claim that if Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba aka MK becomes President, after incumbent father-Museveni, then Uganda will be a monarch.
Like I indicated earlier, Uganda has ever had a president who was a monarch and Uganda did not become a monarch; so a little history would help such people.
However, I am afraid some of them, history is not their limitation but malice!
This category is deliberately twisting the truth to hoodwink the masses because maybe they realize that it may be their only chance at the leadership of this great nation.
All they do is mudsling a worthy opponent to score political points especially if you realize you can’t compete with them fair and square.
My prayer is that Ugandans will rise above such cheap politics and focus on issues because what is at stake is the future of this country and its place in Africa and the world.
Because of Uganda’s unique and sometimes complicated history, the questions we ask for our future may not be the same as that of Tanzania or even Kenya whom we have some shared history as the East African Community.
They have not experienced for example war, coups and economic disintegration we experienced under Amin and other past regimes.
In the region, Uganda has had the uphill task of playing catch-up because of these past mistakes but thankfully, with President Museveni, we have more or less caught up if not surpassed many of our neighbours.
But the struggle continues and any slip up could easily slide us back to square one.That is what makes transition in this country unique and delicate but also something to look forward to.
So, the question should not be family, tribe, religion or region but competence. The question should not be whether Uganda is a monarch or will be a monarch if MK offers himself to be democratically elected by the people.
But rather, the question to ask should be, what are the constitutional requirements or what does one require to run for president in Uganda? And does General MK fit in all this?
The truth is, the man is qualified and if Uganda is to run a proper democracy, the people will decide and put their stamp of approval on the ballot come 2026!
A landslide win awaits!
As I conclude, for those who know and feign ignorance and for those who may not know, there are over twelve countries-republics where the father has been president and later the son.
In the case of USA, this has not happened only once but twice and a wife of a former president almost became president.
You know why, because people in democracies follow what you stand for and I guess they believe in some ways like father like son.
John Adams was president and later his son John Quincy Adams became president of USA.
George HW Bush senior was president and later his son George W Bush junior also led the US.
Bill Clinton was president and wife Hillary Clinton almost became president had she not lost an election!
Therefore, their argument was never that the USA would become a monarch and the fact that they were related to former presidents was not used against them but mostly worked in their favor.
We are talking about the epicenter of democracy at least as claimed!
In Africa, the list is long.
From Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta-Uhuru Kenyatta; Botswana’s Seretse Khama – Ian Khama; Ghana’s Edward Akufo – Nana Akufo; Chad’s Deby- Kaka; DRC’s Desire Kabila -Joseph Kabila; Togo’s Yadema- Faure; Gabon’ Omar – Ali Bongo; and Mauritius’ Navichandra came after his father Seewoosagur.
From the above facts, need I say more? did any of the above countries became monarchs after sons became presidents after their fathers?
Yes, some these men did not come immediately after their fathers but the fact remains they became leaders over countries that had been ruled by their fathers.
Uganda finds herself in a unique position and we should thank God that MK is the man of the hour and he is ready!
If he was not, then we would have a different argument all together. Thankfully there is nothing in our constitution that bars him from taking on the mantle from his father and the people have embraced him.
This is it, it must happen and we must accept it. It is a matter of when, not if MK will become the president of Uganda.
In him all the interests of peace loving Ugandans are met!
There will be a peaceful hand over of power (the first ever and we will make history) to someone well trained and equipped by the best and who has access to counsel from the best when they still have energy.
This is why many Ugandans are showing their support to General MK Movement now and for the future and many, I included, are appealing if not begging him to offer himself as the next president!
All this begs the question again, why shouldn’t MK exercise his constitutional given rights and offer himself as a presidential candidate after his father?
All those blandishing the monarch argument should stand aside if that is all they got or better still should come and join the MK Movement for a better Uganda.
The future is brighter! For God and my country!
The writer is Ag. Chairperson Patriots Club.
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